New plan will support First Nations Queenslanders to access Blue Card
First Nations Queenslanders will receive enhanced support through each stage of Queensland’s working with children check (blue card) system, Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman has announced.
Ms Fentiman released Safe children and strong communities: A strategy and action plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations accessing the blue card system yesterday, building on recommendations from the Queensland Family and Children Commission’s 2017 review of the blue card system which recommended a more strategic approach to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples seeking to work or volunteer with children.
“While the review found that Queensland’s system was one of the strongest working with children check systems in Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples often experienced barriers,” she explained.
The Department of Justice and Attorney-General has developed a five-year action plan which takes an innovative approach to providing greater support to First Nations people through each part of the blue card system.
An oversight group will monitor and evaluate the implementation of the strategies and actions, with Ms Fentiman noting the importance of ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are supported to access the Blue Card system, which is a core element of making sure that those who work with children and organisations are child safe.
“It has impacts across education, employment, health, justice, identification and access to services,” Ms Fentiman explained.
The majority of First Nations peoples who apply are ultimately issued with a blue card and Blue Card Services has already implemented several initiatives to improve participation with the system, she added.
“We’re already seeing positive results from these initial initiatives which means better outcomes for First Nations peoples, organisations and their communities.”
The initiatives include:
- establishing a dedicated team, including Indigenous liaison officers, to assist with the assessment process;
- targeted travel to remote communities to provide one-on-one support for individuals and general information about the blue card system and assistance on how to apply;
- alternative identification processes for people who cannot meet standard identification requirements which are part of the application process;
- cultural capability training for staff, with specific training for staff who engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
- developing specific information resources by an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creative agency which promote key messages in a culturally sensitive way and that debunk myths about applying for a blue card;
- increasing attendance at community events to provide opportunity for people to learn about the blue card system, eligibility and how to apply; and,
- providing free, tailored workshops in person or online.
A copy of the plan is available at www.bluecard.qld.gov.au